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Deke

The more things change...

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As far back as I can remember, I have lived on the dirty fringe of society, subsisting off the soft putrid underbelly that many choose to believe does not exist. Born into a world that would just as soon roast my flesh over an open flame as offer me a helping hand, my survival was based solely on my ability to adapt in a society rife with greed, lust and utter ambivalence to needs of others.

I have few memories of my early childhood. Not like I care that much as there's little to be said when you're the bastard child of a cheap whore and some son of a bitch Bloodsail pirate. I had the great fortune of being raised by the aforementioned pirate, after his trusty belaying pin found its way into my mother's skull with enough force to split her head open like a melon. I didn't witness this, of course, but that particular story was recanted many a time over bottles of grog aboard ship. I never asked why he did this - I honestly didn't care. I never knew her, I had no bond with her. Family as no meaning for me - the crew was the only family I knew. Besides, any despair on my part for her death certainly wasn't going to breathe life back into her decaying body.

By the age of 24, I had become quite adept in many aspects of our criminal enterprise. Perhaps my favorite endeavor was the assassination of high ranking officers on Alliance ships. The look in their eyes as the color drains from their face when I emerge from the shadows, glinting steel in hand... ahhh... priceless. Better yet was watching the show when the body was finally discovered. It reminded me of what happens when you kick over an ant hill. Thousands of angry little creatures scurrying about, alarm bells ringing and torches blazing... Such a wonderous sight.

But I digress. To offer some insight on my present circumstances, allow me to state that life has a strange sense of humor. After a small raid on a couple merchant ships anchored off the coast of Southshore, we return to our ship for a victory celebration. We had gorged ourselves on fresh foodstuffs we had plundered and reveled in our glory as captured female servants were passed around along with the bottles of grog. Naturally, my father was more than anxious to partake of the spoils, and eventually, he was afforded the opportunity.

Now, I'm still a bit fuzzy on how this all came about - I blame the grog - but it more or less began with a question to my father. He had just finished abusing one of the girls and he made a remark about the next in line. I replied with a question... "What, she survived the belaying pin?" My father's response was quick and witty. May I just say now that a fist is worth a thousand words?

So there I lay on the deck, bleeding profusely from my broken nose and smashed lip, staring up at the clear night sky. My vision was soon obscured by my father's angry visage, sneering down at me as I slowly came to my senses. He bent down and put his hands on his knees, bringing his ugly mug perhaps 18 inches from my own. "Aye, she did. And nay, ye won't, boy, if'n ye open yer filthy yap t'me agin!" he snarled.

Now, ordinarily I'd have reacted much more quickly, but considering the amount of alchol I had consumed and my present seating arrangements, I think I did pretty well. My dagger flashed from its scabbard in my normal, practiced fashion, but instead of a single, clean slice through the cartoid and jugular on the side of the neck, I found that I had buried it point first right through his mouth. About 2 inches of blade protruded from the back of his neck, right at the base of his skull. His eyes went wide in an expression of both pain and utter shock. He collapsed forward across my chest, pinning me to the deck in a widening pool of his blood. It was only a minute or two before one of the other sailors took notice of the situation and pulled his bloody corpse off of me.

Unfortunately, the way our little band of marauders operated, his actions were justified, mine were not. And can you guess the grand prize for murdering a crewmate? Yes, that right! Keelhauling! I can now tell you from experience that keelhauling can be likened to being slow-roasted on a spit while being strangled. Unfortunately, I survived round. Which gave reason have round two. Once again, I unfortunately survived. Somewhere during round three, I lost consciousness when I slammed into the hull of the ship

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Coughing and choking, consciousness was returned to me, albeit in a rather violent and unpleasant manner. Flat on my back, I stare up at a stone ceiling above my head. Torches set in the wall cast an eerie glow over the cracked and chipped surfaces of the walls and floor. Mummified bodies have been crammed into carved-out niches in the walls. My eyes burned, sticky and blurry from the salt that has crusted in them. I could smell the scent of the ocean wafting from my body, mixed with the pungent odor of decaying flesh. I rolled onto my side, still hacking salt water from my lungs, and finally pushed myself up to a kneeling position. A crackling voice called down from atop the stairs.

"You, down there. As soon as you're finished gacking, get your ass up here!"

My flesh was putrified, my skin taut and leathery. My clothes were nothing more than rags, rotting off my decaying corpse. But I lived. My heart did not beat, no blood coursed through my veins. But I lived. My lungs did not draw breath after breath. But I lived. Alright. What...the hell...?

"Dammit, did you hear me?! GET YOUR ROTTEN ASS UP HERE NOW, YOU WORTHLESS GIT!"

Dazed, I stood from my kneeling place on the floor and shuffle towards the stairs. My muscles and tendons had stiffened, my joints calcified. My mind sent commands to my limbs that were sluggish in responding. I clambered my way up the stairs to come face to face with another corpse. But this one was holding a lantern and a scroll.

"'Bout goddamned time. Name?"

"Uhhh...what?" I croaked. My voice was dry and cracked. I hardly recognized it, myself.

"What's yer damnable name?"

"Uhhh..." Name... ok... name... What the hell is my name?

"Dee...something...Deke... Deacon?"

"Deke something. Fine. Just tell 'em yer name's 'Deke'." He scribbled on his scroll. "Head down the hill and find the church. They'll tell ya what to do from there."

"What? What the hell is going on here?"

"Well, lemme see if I can put this simply for you. Yer dead. Well, you were until a few minutes ago. Now get outta my sight."

"Dead? So how am I-"

"You're one of the undead now. The Foresaken."

He thumped me on the side of the head with his scroll and pointed down the hill. "LEAVE. They'll answer yer worthless questions down there."

And off I went, down the hill. Thoughts swam through my mind, none of them making any sense whatsoever. Dead. Undead. Foresaken. Well... this oughtta be fun.

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